News Story

President Hinckley Says Rebuilt Nauvoo Temple Marks Greatest Season in Church's History

NAUVOO, Ill. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, world leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the media today at a news conference on the grounds of the newly rebuilt Nauvoo Illinois Temple that the Church will move on to an extremely promising future.

"The past is behind us and the future ahead never looked better than it does today," President Hinckley said. "This is the greatest season in the history of the Church and it will only get better."

Media gathered in Nauvoo for events tied to the historic and long-anticipated dedication of the reconstructed temple, built on the same site and to virtually the same exterior specifications and design as the original Nauvoo Temple, which was dedicated more than 156 years ago.

"We're back in Nauvoo to dedicate this magnificent building, built on the same spot where our forebears constructed a temple that looked ... just like this, and worked through five years to build it, construct it, sacrificed everything to make it magnificent and then left it ... to go west," said President Hinckley.

He will preside today at the first of 13 separate ticket-only dedicatory sessions conducted inside the temple through 30 June, each to be attended by an estimated 1,500 Latter-day Saints. The dedication will be broadcast via satellite to approximately 2,300 locations in 72 countries and in 38 languages, far exceeding the reach of any previous satellite broadcast by the Church. This will be the first temple dedication to be broadcast on an international scale.

Since the Latter-day Saints were driven from Nauvoo in the mid-1840s and embarked on a 1,300-mile exodus from Nauvoo to the Rocky Mountains, the Church has grown to more than 11 million members in 160 countries and territories.

Commenting on the urgency observed by some in the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, President Hinckley told the media that the plan was to be able to dedicate the temple on 27 June 2002 — the anniversary of the martyrdom of Church founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith in Carthage, Illinois. But he gave another reason.

"This Church is in a hurry to get its work done, we've got a big job to do," he said. "We've got to do work for the whole world and we don't have forever to do it. We're in a hurry."

When asked if he felt Joseph Smith would be satisfied with the rebuilt temple, President Hinckley said: "I believe so. I feel satisfied and intend to say in the dedicatory services that there will be with us today an unseen audience. I feel confident of that, and that Joseph Smith will be in that audience and Hyrum Smith will be in that audience and many others who gave their life and their time and their energies to the construction of that temple."

For Latter-day Saints temples are considered "houses of the Lord" different from the thousands of meetinghouses or churches where members typically meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities.

"Everything that will occur in this temple henceforth will be concerned with the things of eternity," President Hinckley told the media. "Everything that takes place here — the baptismal work, the ordinance work — will all point in the direction of the conviction of our people that God has spoken, that the heavens have been parted, that the Father and the Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph and declared a system under which we believe in the eternity of the human soul, that life goes on, that this is not the end."

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